fbpx Skip to content

Anahata Chakra: Healing Through the Heart

The heart can be a source of love and where we can connect to our truth. Love for ourselves is possible when we honour our truth and continue to check in with what serves us at any given moment.

The heart chakra, Anahata, is also where we house our pain (i.e. heartbroken). Our physical and emotional ails may be transformed at the heart if we connect to our truth and explore what activities, communities, and relationships bring a sense of lightness and love into our being.  

Anahata is the fourth chakra and is at the center of the seven chakras. It serves as a bridge to connect the lower chakras, which relate to our tangible connection to the earth, with the upper chakras, which relate to our consciousness and immaterial aspects of nature.
It is within our hearts that we can create harmony and balance between our internal and external worlds. The heart is where we can discover a state of ease, compassion, and serenity. The themes of the fourth chakra themes include love, forgiveness, sadness, and grief. 

The element for Anahata is air. Our breath is our life force, our vitality, and is one of the key indicators of how we’re feeling emotionally. Tightness or shortness of breath is a sign of stress or can indicate we are holding pain in our chests. When our breath is smooth, slow, and deep, we are in a state of ease. When we are at ease, we can interact with our environment and other people with more integrity.  

This week on the podcast discussion, we responded to your questions around balancing community with compensation and issues surrounding cultural appropriation. We opened this week’s talk with an overview of the chakras in what they are and why they’re essential to the practice and unpacked the heart chakras themes, blockages, and imbalances. 

Watch the talk on the Practice With Clara Site, or listen on Spotify

You have many chakras (intersection of energy lines) in your body. We, as yogis, focus on seven that run up our main energy channel known as Sushumna.

In this series, explore each chakra with unique classes geared towards lighting them up.

 

Introduction to The Chakras

We have thousands of chakras in our bodies. The ones that we focus on as yogis go up to our main energy channel, Sushumna or the spine, which starts at the pelvis and goes through the middle of the spine all the way to the top of the head.

The seven chakras are located at Sushumna. The first one, Muladhara, is at the base. The second one, Swadhisthana, is just below the belly button. The third one, Manipura, is at the solar plexus, The fourth one, Anahata at the heart. The fifth one, Vishuddha, goes to the throat. The sixth one, Ajna,  is at the third eye center, the middle of the head. And then the seventh one, Sahasrara, is the top, the head, or just above the head, depending upon who you talk to. 

Why do we focus on the chakras as yogis?

It’s said that at the base of our pelvis sits our creative force known as Shakti or Kundalini. This is this dormant creative force that lives inside of the pelvis. As yogis, we want to ignite or awaken that energy to have it rise up from the pelvis to our third eye center where our consciousness lives. When the kundalini energy rises, it’s said that we are awakened or that we receive enlightenment.

This is why we wanted to focus on the chakras. When the chakras are all open, the energy flows freely, and we are awakened. The asana and pranayama help to move the stagnant energy that day-to-day life can create in the body. Yoga is a way to clear the stagnant energy by observing the themes and blockages of each chakra and then creating a practice to clear and move the energy. 

Themes for Anahata

CRO–It’s said that the union is found inside of our hearts, which I love. Themes of the fourth chakra include compassion, love, forgiveness, acceptance, healing. Self-love. Love for others. On the shadow side of the heart chakra, we have grief and sadness.

Anahata means, unstruck, which is the unstruck sound that lives within each of us. It’s the vibration that lives inside of us. It’s the potential. I love this idea, the potential of the sound of vibration. And that is the heart, the potential of connection to all things.

One of the ways we observe if we’re blocked around a specific chakra is to ask, where do I feel tight or where does it feel uncomfortable or sticky? Another way we discover if the heart chakra is blocked is through ideas of sadness of grief.

So now, you would go into the emotional body where you may find constriction or a lack of forgiveness. Forgiveness is a big one that has to do with the heart. So you’re not able to forgive to let go. You can’t surrender; you’re holding on tight. And again, that tightness you generally feel in the chest. Self-care comes into this chakra as well, which is part of self-love. 

Blockages of Anahata

CRO–The most obvious one is tightness in the chest, like a physical tightness in the chest. Or another way is to look at someone’s posture or look at your own posture and if shoulders are rounded forward. With rounded shoulders, there’s this idea of physically protecting your heart. Or if you have any injuries in the chest or the shoulders that generally tells you that something’s going on in the heart. 

A shallow breath would be the other biggest obvious one. So if you can’t breathe deep, there’s a constriction in the chest. As physical yoga practitioners, we practice Asana versus meditation, and we always come to the body first because the body never lies. I like to take a couple of deep breaths and go into my body and observe how you feel. One of my favourite things to do at the beginning of my own practice is a body scan to see how I feel and where my body needs attention. 

I’ve been doing this so long, living yoga to the best of my ability, that it bleeds into all that I do. Running a business, teaching yoga, parenting; all of it is living yoga. I strive to always come back and connect to myself and my integrity. One of the reasons I wanted to create an online platform was to grow a global community and continue to connect with people. It felt like a very natural progression. You have to follow your instincts, receive, and respond to what comes naturally. For me, shifting my passion into a business was a natural progression from where I was. 

Community versus Compensation

My experience right now is that there is a very low glass ceiling in this room. Studios where I live and it is more economical for them to hire brand new instructors versus paying an experienced instructor, more money. I see the value in teaching in studios because they serve as a place to practice and the presence of community and meet new students. I feel a struggle about teaching in studios when the pay is so low and I’m being asked to perform lots of other non-yoga tasks. 


SDT– I think this is related to heart chakra because we love teaching. And I’ve been in this position where you’re teaching for free, or you’re teaching for very little because I get so much out of giving that to others.

CROI think the first question that I would ask is what do you want, I want, like, what does this student, or what does this teacher want?

I used to teach 25 classes a week and my Tuesday would start at 7:00 AM. And my last class ended at 8:30 PM and I taught at three different studios. It was crazy but I put in my time because that’s what I believed in, it was what I wanted to do. Through putting in all that time and effort, I started to build a following.

So I would ask: what’s most important to you? Is it most important to you to be part of a community, or is it most important to pay your bills? It’s a real thing to have to pay your bills and be validated as a teacher. Community is one of the main reasons I teach, and in the past, I’ve actually chosen to work for free and donate proceeds to a charity over making an hourly wage that didn’t sit well with me. 

I’ve spent over $10,000 on my education in this field, so anything less than minimum wage, I would rather work for free. I’d happily do Seva, which translates as selfless service towards others. 

If teaching is your main source of income, the other thing you need to think about is your worth.

Honouring the Roots of the Practice

I’m curious about appropriation. I have an interest in interreligious dialogue. Some people believe yoga cannot coexist with Christianity or Catholicism. How do we successfully respect and incorporate different traditions? 


CRO– So yoga is its own philosophy. Hinduism means philosophy from India. The biggest thing with yoga is it believes in a higher power. There’s Vedantic yoga; there are all kinds of yoga. You can fit whatever your religion or philosophy is into yoga. There’s a space for it. 

Are we culturally appropriating a philosophy and a way of life, a lifestyle that is not ours? The short answer around this is there is space for everything. In terms of you, take what works for you, and you leave the rest. But that being said, you honour where it came from. So we honour that it does come from India. We honour that. Traditionally, we talk about the chakras, and traditionally we do mantra and meditation and all these things, but the practice should evolve as we evolve.

As we’ve evolved as humans, the practice also evolves. I don’t think it should be rigid or static, and that’s why there are so many different styles of yoga and so many different cultures have taken it on and you’ll talk to most Indian people and they’re thrilled to share the practice of yoga.

It’s a benefit to all of us, because essentially it’s a tool kit, whether or not you’re doing the Asana practice or whether or not you’re doing meditation or mantra. It’s a toolkit to make yourself whole again. My understanding is that the great religions are about connecting to the divinity right inside of us or outside of us, depending upon which religion you’re talking about, but to find wholeness again is to be a part of something greater.

And so yoga fits, I think yoga fits in that. I think it’s really important to honour where it came from. And to know the history of it. 

Join Practice with Clara

New members get 7-days FREE!

Sign up for a recurring subscription and get access to hundreds of different yoga classes and join the weekly LIVE yoga class.

Connect to the Power of the Chakras

Your guide to each of the chakras with movement practices including yoga and meditation, to create balance and connect to the potential of each energy center.

Learn the themes, imbalances, blockages, and ways to connect to the 1st chakra.

Learn the themes, imbalances, blockages, and ways to connect to the 2nd chakra.

Learn the themes, imbalances, blockages, and ways to connect to the 3rd chakra.

Learn the themes, imbalances, blockages, and ways to connect to the 4th chakra.

Learn the themes, imbalances, blockages, and ways to connect to the 5th chakra.

Learn the themes, imbalances, blockages, and ways to connect to the 6th chakra.

Learn the themes, imbalances, blockages, and ways to connect to the 7th chakra.

Join Practice with Clara

New members get 7-days FREE!

Sign up for a recurring subscription and get access to hundreds of different yoga classes and join the weekly LIVE yoga class.

Join me for an experiencial practice!

My favourite thing about yoga is getting to watch people have a connection with themselves.

 

Join Practice with Clara

New members get 7-days FREE!

Sign up for a recurring subscription and get access to hundreds of different yoga classes and join the weekly LIVE yoga class.

Yoga at Home

Reaffirm your commitment to a home yoga practice!

Read our post on how to set up a home yoga studio and the benefits of joining the Class of the Day.

 

✧ Join the Community ✧

Our community boasts yogis from countries all over the world who gather and co-create the spaces we share on the Practice with Clara platform.

Join a community of over 1.3k yogis from around the world in the Practice with Clara Facebook Group

· Share your feedback

· Seek help and motivation from the community

· Discuss and receive input on yoga challenges and injuries

· Cultivate a global community

· Exclusive access to content and upcoming events

· Bring your ideas and questions to the Practice with Clara Ambassadors 

Take a LIVE yoga class with Clara each week and join hundreds of yogis worldwide. 

· Ask Clara questions in the live Q&A after class

· Participate in a class with Clara and the community

· Put in your request for a specific class

· Build to a peak pose in a vinyasa-style sequence

· Learn modifications for injuries

· Receive how-to guides to advance your practice

More Opportunties on Practice with Clara

See the History of Our 30-Day Yoga Challenges 

Take a look at the past 30-day yoga challenges. 

Read the history of the 30-day challenges with the past partnerships, themes, interviews with professionals, and more. 

Join an Upcoming 30-Day Yoga Challenge

See when the next 30-day yoga challenge is hosted to join the LIVE yoga & meditation classes.

Check out the events page to learn more. 

Are you looking for more opportunities to practice yoga, for free? 

Check out our Free Yoga page to see the latest offerings. 

Choose from three unique, free, offerings: 

30-day challenge
7-day series for beginners
7-day series for advanced vinyasa yogis 

✧ Community Feedback ✧

vinyasa yoga
vinyasa yoga
vinyasa yoga
vinyasa yoga
vinyasa yoga
vinyasa yoga

✧ Frequently Asked Questions ✧

1. What is the Practice with Clara Membership & App?

Practice with Clara is an online platform and Apps that allow you to take your yoga with you anywhere, anytime! With hundreds of classes in various styles, including Hatha, Vinyasa, Restorative, Yin, Prenatal, and Meditation, there’s something for everyone at any level of the practice. The Practice with Clara Membership provides a monthly or yearly subscription package with the first 7-days free for you to experience the courses. 

2. How is the Membership Different from the YouTube Playlists?

A membership to the Practice with Clara Apps provides:

  • Access to the members-only library of yoga classes
  • Weekly LIVE classes with Clara
  • Unique events and workshops
  • Downloadable assets including:
    • Monthly Calendars
    • Journaling Booklets
    • Spotify Playlists
  • Access to a community of yogis worldwide 
  • Q&A sessions with Clara
  • & much more!

Clara’s YouTube Channel provides carefully curated playlists to introduce you to the free programs and yoga challenges for you to get a taste of what’s offered and commit to your wellness!

3. What Do I Get When I Join the 7-Day Program?

The 7-day programs include: 

  • 7-Days of Vinyasa Yoga Intensive
  • 7-Days of Yoga for Beginners

These programs provide a weeks-worth of yoga classes to ignite your yoga practice and cultivate a new, healthy habit. 

When you sign-up for one of these programs, you’ll receive:

  • A welcome email to the program from Clara
  • A class each day for 1-week
  • Curated Spotify playlists to accompany each course
  • A calendar to track your progress
  • Access to the private Practice with Clara Facebook Group

These programs are free with no hidden costs or fees; PLUS, you’ll still receive the 7-day free trial on the Practice with Clara Apps once you complete the series!

4. What Do I Get When I Join the 30-Day Yoga Challenge?

We host quarterly 30-day yoga challenges that are always free for all members of Practice with Clara. Each yoga challenge is themed based on the season. We’ve provided our inaugural challenge, Reconnect | A 30-Day Yoga Challenge, as an email series for you to try to test your physical and mental discipline and endurance!

What you receive in Reconnect | 30-Day Challenge

  • A welcome email to the program from Clara
  • A class each day for 30-days
  • Curated Spotify playlists to accompany each course
  • A calendar to track your progress
  • A journaling booklet to incite self-reflection 
  • Access to the private Practice with Clara Facebook Group

This program is free, anytime, with no hidden costs or fees, PLUS you’ll still receive the 7-day free trial on the Practice with Clara Apps once you complete the series!

 5.  I Want to Try the App, What’s Next? 

Great, we’re so happy to have you join our community!

To set up the Practice with Clara App, here are your next steps:

6. I’m Injured, Pregnant, or New to the Practice—Can I Join?

YES, no matter where you are at in your practice, there are classes for you on Practice with Clara. 

We’ve created playlists for beginners and those who are new to the practice.

we also have the Prenatal Collections with classes from the 1st – 4th trimesters that I created when I was pregnant with my daughter. 

Finally, I offer PLENTY of modifications and suggestions based on injury in all the platform classes. 

The biggest thing is to always listen to your body; your body is the greatest teacher.

Join Practice with Clara

New members get 7-days FREE!

Sign up for a recurring subscription and get access to hundreds of different yoga classes and join the weekly LIVE yoga class.